The Katunsky Reserve was established on June 25, 1991 as a state natural reserve, in January 2000 it received the status of a biosphere reserve.
Location: The reserve is located in the highlands of Central Altai, in the Ust-Koksinsky region of the Altai Republic.
The area of the Katunsky reserve: 151,664 ha.
The absolute heights of the reserve range from 1,300 to 3,280 meters above sea level. On the territory of the reserve there are 135 lakes with an area of 0.9 hectares or more.
From January 2000, the territory adjacent to the Katunsky Reserve became the Belukha National Park.
The territory of the Katunsky and Altai reserves is included in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List under the name “Golden Mountains of Altai” (1998).
Physical and geographical features of the Katunsky Reserve
It is located in the highest mountainous part of Altai – on the Katunsky ridge. The reserve area is 151 thousand hectares. The Belukha Mountain (4,506 m) adjoins the reserve’s territory – the highest point of Siberia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reserve is located at altitudes from 1,300 to 3,280 m.
Highlands with large glaciers, snowfields and stony placers and middle mountains with tundra, alpine and subalpine meadows are widespread. Forest communities dominate along deeply embedded river valleys and in the lower parts of the slopes.
The territory of the reserve is everywhere changed by ancient and modern glaciers, whose activity is recorded in peaked peaks, carts, and trough-shaped trough valleys with many lakes. Here is one of the most powerful centers of modern glaciation in the Altai.
One of the largest rivers in Altai, the Katun, originates in the reserve. All rivers of the reserve belong to its basin and have a mountain character with large slopes. The reserve has 135 picturesque lakes, the origin of which is associated with the work of ancient glaciers.
Flora of the Katunsky Reserve
vegetation has a high-taiga-forest-steppe type. Of interest are the majority of plant species, especially those listed in the Red Books.
Of these, the following Ukhoksky, Altai rhubarb, steppe peony, Rhodiopes: frosty, four-rifle, pink, gravilatum coluria, Siberian kandyk, Altai onion, rapontikum safflower-shaped and others (18 species) are noted on the reserve’s territory.
Endemics are also found here – species that grow only in this region (Krylov’s fescue, etc.) and relics of bygone eras (dry-toothed teeth, etc.)
Fauna of the Katunsky Reserve
The fauna of the reserve is diverse. Currently, there are 55 species of mammals, 180 species of birds, 6 species of reptiles, 2 species of amphibians, 8 species of fish, 135 species of lepidoptera.
Of the fur-bearing species of animals, sable, squirrel, columns, ermine, solong, marmot, steppe polecat, and American mink are found here. No less typical are predators – lynx, wolverine, fox and wolf.
Their largest representative is the brown bear. From hoofed animals there are elk, maral, roe deer, musk deer, Siberian ibex. A special place is occupied by the snow leopard, listed in the Red Book of Russia and the IUCN. In the Red Book of the Republic of Altai included river otter, night-flowers baleen and Brandt.
The birds of interest are the Red Book species: the golden eagle, the Altai snowcock, the owl, the black stork, the falcon Saker Falcon and the Peregrine Falcon.
Reptiles are represented by four species of snake – a patterned snake, an ordinary shtekomordnik, a steppe and an ordinary reptile, and two kinds of lizards – the nimble and viviparous. In the rivers and lakes inhabit the common taimen, grayling, lenok (uskuch), Siberian minnow, char, ground stone and burbot.
Features of visiting Katunsky reserve
By visiting the Katunsky Reserve in the coming season or at any other time of the year, by prior arrangement, you can:
- get to know the nature of the reserve
- learn about nature conservation on the Katunsky Ridge
- touch the Altai and Old Believers culture
- see red deer
- visit apiary in the upper river Katun
- test yourself in extreme conditions of the wild
- fishing in mountain rivers and lakes.